Very-long-chain fatty acids, with a chain length of >C20, are abundant in myelin sphingolipids. Recently, a de novo mutation in the ELOVL1 gene, which encodes fatty acid elongase, was identified in patients with neurocutaneous disorders involving skin ichthyosis and multiple neurological abnormalities, including hypomyelination, spastic paraplegia, and high-frequency deafness. However, the consequences of ELOVL1 deficiency for lipid composition and detailed pathological changes in the brain remain unclear. Here, we analyzed Elovl1 mutant mice as a model of human ELOVL1 deficiency. The mice exhibited a decreased postnatal survival rate, and some died of startle epilepsy. The acyl chain length of sphingolipids such as galactosylceramides, sulfatides, sphingomyelins, and ceramides in the brains of these mice was markedly shortened. Moreover, the mice exhibited reduced levels of galactosylceramides, which are important for myelin formation and stability. Electron microscope analysis of the corpus callosum in Elovl1 mutant mice revealed modest hypomyelination, especially in large-diameter axons. Furthermore, behavioral testing of the mice revealed deficits such as poorer motor coordination and reduced acoustic startle response to high-intensity stimulus. These findings provide clues to the molecular mechanism of the neurological symptoms of patients with the ELOVL1 mutation.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology (miscellaneous)
- Cancer Research
- Molecular Medicine